Does this sound familiar? (from John Hawkins via Betsy's Page)
"Let's say there's a guy who's trying to get a job with ABC company. We'll call him...let's say, John Terry. The boss of "Faceless Corporation, Inc." interviews John Terry, sees that he has requisite experience for the job, and asks why he should hire him. John Terry tells the boss,
"You should hire me because of the great job I did as an accountant at XYZ company. I'm telling you, I did the work of 5 people. I was the guy in charge of our budget, I did payroll, I did price quotes for sales, I'm telling ya, there was no better accountant in the company. Just ask my references, the guys in my department."
So, the boss checks with the guys in John Terry's department and they all have nothing but good things to say about him. So, he starts to seriously consider Terry for the job...then, something odd happens. He runs into a guy from sales at XYZ company and this guy says,
"Oh, Terry was the worst accountant we had. Not only was he a jerk, he was constantly late with the price quotes we gave to customers. I bet you his screw-ups cost us $100,000 last year".
Suddenly, the boss is confused. What the salesman is telling him is exactly the opposite of what all the guys in Terry's department were saying. So the boss checks around and he actually runs down every single boss Terry had at XYZ company and they all say the same thing,
"This Terry guy was a creep and he was terrible at his job. Hiring him would be the biggest mistake you ever made".
Well, the boss keeps checking around and he finds that for every guy in Terry's department who had good things to say about him, there are 20 guys from different departments at XYZ company who all say Terry was a walking disaster. He hears things like...
-- "Terry was constantly claiming to have done work that he really never completed."
-- "This guy has done nothing but talk down the company to anyone who'll listen since he left. I can't stand him."
-- "Don't even get me started on this Terry guy. I wouldn't hire him to help run my kid's lemonade stand."
Now, after hearing all of this, does John Terry get hired? My guess is that most people would say 'no'."
I know just what is going through the mind of that job interviewer. I have been in exactly the same position. All the letters of recommendation look pretty good, but there is something about the applicant.... So, you give the people who recommended him a call; or his former boss and ask them to speak "off the record", since nobody says what they really think in the letters of recommendation. Or, if they do, there's no way to tell, since every single one is a glowing accolade that leaves no room for possible litigation.
So, my advice is that you read Unfit for Command if you want to hear what every single superior officer of Kerry's has to say about his performance in Vietnam. Just like the job interview above, something just doesn't add up. The men in this book are not foaming at the mouth right wing nuts (although even if they were, in fairness you would still have to evaluate what they have to say). They are decorated Vietnam vets who are deserving of our consideration. Kerry must answer these charges with FACTS, not with attacks on his fellow veterans.